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Laurel may ban pit bulls

By Jason Niblett, [email protected] laurelleadercall .com

Laurel's administration and some city council members are beginning the steps to possibly ban pit bulls within the city limits.

After researching bans within other cities, including Richland and Clinton in Mississippi, administration officials have rewritten the animal control ordinance. The city council began debate on the issue during a public safety committee meeting. The issue will soon go before the entire Laurel City Council.

"These dogs are breaking out of fences," Public Safety Committee Chair Manuel Jones said. "People are so afraid to walk the streets now because of the dogs. It's not just pits, but it's vicious dogs. Something will have to be done."

There are leash laws on the books, but they are often not enforced. Jones said the leash laws should also be enforced more.

There will be some debate within the council, however. Ward 3 Councilman Tony Thaxton said he has a issue with telling people they can't have a certain dog.

"I have a real problem with government telling people what they can and can't have," Thaxton said.

Chief Administrative Office Gary Suddith said he agreed with Thaxton's statement, but also feels strongly about a possible ban.

"I agree I don't want government telling me what I can and can't do," he said.

Suddith also said the same dogs are repeatedly picked up, taken to the Laurel City Shelter, and returned to owners.

"Leave town or be euthanized. The process stops," he said.

Other council members who are on the committee also voiced concerns. Ward 7 Councilwoman Felicia Mann Breland said she'll support the ban if it's broadened to include all "vicious" dogs. Ward 1 Council member Willie Lavonne Evans agreed with the community fear factor, saying she has concerns for children walking. George Carmichael, Ward 4 councilman, said his ward regularly has reports of pit bulls loose on the streets. Some members did not say whether or not they are for banning pit bulls in Laurel, awaiting more formal talks during upcoming meetings.

http://www.leaderca ll.com/local/ local_story_ 210102328. html

Contact information

Please send your POLITE and RESPECTFUL opposition to breed specific legislation, as well as educational materials to the Laurel city officials.

Melvin Mack, Mayor
Carol Tillery (Executive Assistant),
[email protected] com
(601) 428-6401

Mary Ann Hess, City Clerk/Finance Director (601) 428-6430
[email protected] laurelms. com
City Hall Room 201

Terri Smith, Chief Deputy City Clerk
[email protected] .com

Linda McNeil, Deputy City Clerk
[email protected] laurelms. com

City Council Clerks, (601) 428-6444
[email protected] laurelms. com

Sharon King, Council Clerk
[email protected] .com

Elizabeth Raybourn, Deputy Council Clerk
[email protected] laurelms. com

Legal Department
David Ratcliff, City Attorney
[email protected] h.net
525 Central Ave.
Laurel MS 39440
(601) 425-2303

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